Body Positivity Is Great And All But Not When It's Ignoring Health Concerns

Body Positivity Is Great And All But Not When It's Ignoring Health Concerns

The popularity in body positivity affects how we view health and fitness.
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The body positivity movement founded in 1996, has been one of the best movements to help women. The movement encourages women to accept their bodies while improving health and well-being. The movement, growing in popularity, has become an anthem to the plus-sized community. Since the age of super modeling, only slender women have been given the platform. Things have changed, famous plus-size model Ashley Graham has made waves. Graham a body positivity advocate is tearing down the idea of big women cannot be sexy. Women who are full-figured are sexy, they can wear lingerie and bikinis; this is the revolution.

I’m sorry to burst your bubble but, women’s bodies in the media have never been about women’s empowerment. It has been about aesthetics and sexuality. People have killed to be thin. Bigger women are embracing their bodies, wearing whatever they want. These attitudes are challenging the traditional standard of beauty. What had started out as radical love for one’s body has been diluted and reduce to shallowness adopting negative attitudes towards exercise. As a fitness advocate, the body positivity movement isn’t fighting for health or equality it is fighting for the crown of attractiveness.

On Social Media, the body positivity movement has become political. Women are sick of conforming and are sick of the ridicule for not having the perfect body, so they should be. But what about health? The movement is promoting a sedentary lifestyle. Tessa Holiday, the world’s first size 22 model and the founder of #effyourbeautystandards campaign, is well known for her ideas about body confidence. In the past, she has tweeted:

“If you want someone to preach health over self-love, I’m not your girl.”

Tweets and thoughts like these are alarming. What is the end message? Shouldn’t self-love correlate to health? Where is the line between body confidence and obesity? Media plays a power influence in acceptance, normalizing obesity, when in fact obesity is a disease as well as an epidemic. Overweight and obese people are at a higher risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Yes, skinny people can be unhealthy, but their risk is dramatically lower. For one, we have to stop associating skinny as healthy, you can be skinny and have unhealthy eating habits. It seems confidence and this self-love talk is going to people’s heads.

In the US, two-thirds of women are overweight. I have family members struggling with diseases associated with their weight, it’s not pretty. I have seen children in my church struggle to stand while begging for food. Normalizing obesity is a problem! Are advocates of this movement in denial? Are they too focused on peoples’ opinions? The message we are sending to young women and girls are radical. The pressure to be thin has been replaced with “it is okay to be obese.” Neither one is correct. When can healthy be sexy? When will we normalize health?

This new radical ideology from the Body positivity campaign is the result of fat-shaming. Celebrities like Rihanna and Katy Perry have been fat-shamed. Fat shaming is everywhere and it is unnecessary. Skinny and fit people need to back off for a minute with chastisement and encourage those that aren’t fit. People know what they look like, let’s leave it to the doctors and medical professionals to criticize. Our bodies are complex, some people cannot lose or gain weight. At the end of the day, if you love you- you will love others.

Unconditional love for yourself will result in living life in the best condition. I’m not saying women in the body positivity movement aren’t healthy, some are. I’m saying we should have people in the movement telling you healthy is better than sexy. We don’t need people giving the finger towards health! As we get older, our bodies slow down. Excessive weight puts unwanted pressure on our heart and internal organs, causing pain and joint immobility. Role models in the movement are responsible for bringing awareness to health, because what woman wearing over a size 10 wants to hear a woman who is a size 6 telling her about health.

SEE ALSO: Let's Put A Warning Label On The 'Body Positivity' Movement

Let’s get one thing straight, beauty standards are a fantasy. Women bodies are distorted images playing on the insecurities of women. We are constantly focusing on the society, how society sees me, will society accept me. Fuck that and focus on health and yourself. I have struggled with body issues too. My body frame is large and muscular; I have strong thighs and a wide back. I have overcome my struggles with tons emphasize on ton of self-help, eating healthy, and focusing on how I feel when I eat.

Even though I am athletic, I have been called fat plenty of times in my life. What I would like to see is the body positive movement be accessible to everyone having a struggle. Diversify the moment include women of color, men, burned victims, trans women. After all the goal is intersectionality. I want to see full-figured women wearing bikinis in commercials playing sports. I want to see big women on BuzzFeed being active and eating heathy. I want to see clothing stores have clothes for those who are awkward and in between small and plus-sized. Can we normalize health please! I want to see positive body positive images. Our bodies are strong and healthy. The message is you can achieve confidence while striving for your health.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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The Real Way To 'Treat Yo Self' Is To Nourish Your Body Instead Of Indulging

I believe the real way to "treat yo self" is to ask, "What would make my body happy?"

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I have been interested in health and wellness for several years, but I have always struggled with committing to a 100% healthy lifestyle. There are temptations everywhere, and I'll admit, I have given into unhealthy indulgences or cravings on numerous occasions. Sometimes, I have gone through a stretch of multiple days of physical inactivity, which I justify by how much work I have or how I deserve relaxation time.

Recently, I had a realization that I (and many other people in my generation) have a skewed view of rewarding or treating ourselves. We tend to allow ourselves to satisfy our desires for comfort in every way possible.

We tend to think of a reward as something unnecessary, but we deserve it because we've earned the right to indulge.

Many young adults don't think of their lifestyle choices as having real effects on their bodies, especially long-term. But over time, our actions have consequences.

College students put their bodies (and minds) through enormous amounts of stress. Take midterm week: all-nighters to cram for exams, being sedentary with days of nonstop sitting, fast food and late-night binging to power through. And then comes the reward: a night of nonstop partying and drinking, or staring at Netflix for 12 hours armed with pizza and candy. I know I'm exaggerating, but you get the point: are these really rewards?

It's clear to me that those indulgences of "comfort foods" that I have given into have profound effects on my digestive system, gut microbiome, and much more. Those hours (read: days) of "relaxation time" spent binge-watching Netflix may have been entertaining, but were detrimental to my body's cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems.

In other words, it turns out I'm not really "treating myself" if my body ends up paying for it.

I'm not telling you that you can never eat your favorite unhealthy foods or drinks, or spend a day watching TV, or whatever habit it is that's not good for you. It most likely won't affect you all that much if you do these things once in a while.

I simply believe it's time to re-construct our view of treating ourselves. I'm saying that, whatever choices we do make, we should be fully aware of the fact that certain habits are not rewards.

I think it's much better for us in the long term to fundamentally change what "Treat Yo Self" means to us rather than spend our lives trying to fight our desires.

I've finally started to understand that real "treats" are things that nourish my body. They include the small things, like making sure to get enough sleep and water, to more involved things like taking outdoor study breaks, making sure to squeeze a workout into a busy day, or cooking a fresh, clean meal for myself. When you come from a place of self-love, "treating yo self" means helping to give your body what it truly craves, which is to get into a state of optimal health.

Since realizing that our lifestyle choices have a lot to do with self-love, I came across a guided morning meditation that incorporates self-love, and I decided to try it for a few days.

One thing that tends to stay in my mind throughout the day after this meditation is the quote, "Today I'm giving love to my body."

After practicing this guided meditation every morning, I have noticed that my mindset has been shifting. I have newfound respect and gratitude for my body. I am bewildered by the amazing ability our bodies have to heal themselves, from the cellular to the psychological levels, if we simply give them the nourishment they need.

Since practicing self-love meditation, I have found it easier to stick to my goals of eating healthy foods and taking time to exercise every day. It now feels like I am rewarding myself when I choose a green smoothie over a bag of cookies. It feels like a reward, and a privilege, to be able to nourish my body, rather than indulge in something for temporary satisfaction. I only wish to share the truth: we are immensely lucky to have our own brilliant life machine that is our bodies.

It's a miracle to have blood flowing through our veins, and we should strive to treat our bodies with the love and respect they deserve. I believe the real way to "treat yo self" is to ask, "What would make my body happy?"

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